Arrived on time in London this morning, after a relatively easy trip. (more…)
Archive for May, 2007
I’m just waiting for the limo driver to pick me up for the trip to Miami. (more…)
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) read a statement into the Congressional record last week, that wasn’t considered newsworthy by the mass media. McDermott began:
“Mr. Speaker, the President and the Vice President have vowed to repeat the mistakes of history, and they have put into motion a plan to do just that in Iran, even as the House is about to send the President a box of blank checks for Iraq against the will of the American people.
“History is worth noting.”
It certainly is. But American history, as taught in our schools, is one of victories and triumphs. Our darker deeds are glossed over (“those were differerent times”) or ignored. The victors write the history. But are we really the victors? McDermott discusses the U.S.-U.K. overthrow of elected Iranian president Mossadegh in 1953 (no, Chile’s elected president Salvador Allende wasn’t the first). At first glance, the coup that put the Shah back in power looks like a victory for our side. That’s the short-term view. In the long term, the consequences have proved otherwise.
Watching the Rise and Fall of the Bush Dynasty is like reading a Shakespeare tragedy, except we must live through it. Unlike Shakespeare’s tragic protagonists, Bush is secure, shielded from harm as effectively as he is shielded from reality. The greatest personal tragedies lie with lesser mortals in his administration. Three that come to mind are Colin Powell, George Tenet and Robert Gates.
On Saturday, May 19, former President Jimmy Carter said, “I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history.” Through White House spokesman Tony Fratto, the administration responded the next day: “I think it’s sad that President Carter’s reckless personal criticism is out there. I think it’s unfortunate, and I think he is proving to be increasingly irrelevant with these kinds of comments.”
Given the administration’s refusal to respond to the political upheaval in last November’s midterm elections, and continued public dissatisfaction with the war and the administration in general, it’s fair to say the administration feels the American public is irrelevant. We shouldn’t feel bad, because to this administration, everything is irrelevant except what it wants to do. (more…)
From the Washington Post: “On May 14, 1607, after a voyage of almost five months — attended by what was probably Halley’s Comet in the night sky — a hundred or so colonists came ashore on Jamestown Island.”
The operative word in this sentence is “colonists.” Colonists are not immigrants, seeking to integrate themselves into a new country. When the colony intrudes into territory occupied by indigenous people, they are invaders and exploiters. By definition, a colony maintains ties with its home country. The colony itself is an extension of that home country. The Jamestown colonists were not invited by the local inhabitants, and did little to ingratiate themselves to them. When the Powhatan Indians and other tribes encountered by the English settlers (Another ambiguous word; eg, Israeli “settlers” in Palestine) had the audacity to insist on their own sovereignty and fought back against the outsiders, the outsiders resorted to guns, germs and steel to gain the upper hand. The white invaders’ assumption that technological superiority equated to moral superiority continues to this day, everywhere on the planet.
Linguistic tricks let us pretend we’re better than we are. We didn’t invade Iraq, we liberated it. We don’t pillage earth’s non-renewable resources, we harvest them. As we “celebrate” 400 years of Western European hegemony in North America, we should pay equal attention to the nouns we choose to obfuscate our past and present barbarity.
Speaking on a day when another 8 American soldiers were killed by roadside bombs, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch told a reporter, “All of us believe that in the next 90 days, you’ll probably see an increase in American casualties because we are taking the fight to the enemy.”
This is preposterous, and I can’t believe the reporter didn’t take him to task for it. Anyone who reads the increasing number of casualty reports from Iraq knows that the great majority of U.S. military deaths are caused by roadside bombs, against which our troops are inadequately protected. These bombs are probably detonated by remote control, so our soldiers can’t even shoot back at their attackers. We are not taking the fight to the enemy in any substantive way. Not through any lack of courage or determination in our soldiers, but because of the criminally corrupt and inept regime that has seized control of our country.
“WAR is a racket. It always has been.
“It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
“A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.
“In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.
“How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?